Breaking Down Different Podcast Audio Levels

We can’t go too deep into the topic of how to edit podcast production audio without acknowledging that there are two different topics at play. First, let’s explain how to edit your podcast to control the software and go through the editing process. Secondly, the more creative side includes choosing when to edit, what to cut, where to take breaks or add music or effects (AKA sound design), and so on.

Both the scientific and artistic sides of the brain are used in the podcast editing process. Our goal is to help someone who’s never edited a podcast before, while still providing a useful resource for someone who’s already editing their podcast, but might not want to. He is not getting the expected results.

Production process: 

Post-production — or all the work that happens after you hit a record — can be broken down into a few steps:

  • Edit: That’s what we focus on in this article. To understand the role of editing in creating a podcast we need to look at the big picture and how each step in the production process contributes to the final episode. It involves a very important and underestimated step of research and planning before going behind the mic, writing your script, then recording it, then editing it.
  • Sound Design: It is the creative process of adding podcast music and sound effects to embellish the story, evoke emotion, speed up the story and engage the listener.
  • Podcast Mixing/Mastering: This is where you will adjust the levels of the different parts of your recording so that they all sit nicely together. This includes making adjustments when people are speaking at different volumes, and where you compress, EQ, and process your audio to improve the sound of your recordings and create a final, polished product.
  • Syndication and promotion: When your podcast is ready to air, this step includes finding an audience and getting your podcast on their devices. We’ve promoted the podcast here in great depth. 

Sound design: 

You’ve recorded a nice conversation, or maybe you’re pairing your voice with music, or sound effects, but it just doesn’t sound “right”. It’s not uncommon, there’s a lot involved in getting the right mix: choosing the right elements, balancing levels, correcting noise, and making sure the final output is at the right loudness.

The first rule to get a good result is to start with good raw ingredients. Try to get clean recordings to begin with; don’t just assume you can “fix it in the mix.” The first step is to choose the right microphone and use a good mic technique. The same goes for background noise: some amazing software can reduce unwanted noise, but the results are never perfect, so it’s better to eliminate the noise before recording it. Turn off or remove fans, refrigerators, ventilation, and other sources of noise. Similarly, if you have an interviewer or colleague who is recording their voice, ask them to follow the same rules.

Choose your other audio elements carefully: If you’re going to carry your voice over to music, avoid vocals or saxophones or electric guitars that sound similar to your spoken voice; they will protest, and make it difficult to understand what is being said. The same applies to sound effects and other environments.

  1. Levels and loudness:

The most important part of getting a great mix is ​​keeping your audio levels consistent. This is a difficult skill to master, but some technical aids can make it easier. Many people have gotten into the habit of “normalizing” their audio to equalize their levels, and hope that by maximizing the volume of each clip, they’ll all be equally loud. But, if you’ve tried it, you’ll know that traditional normalization doesn’t achieve this. Most normalization processes look for audio peaks, the loudest moment in a clip, and adjust the levels of the sound file to make that peak as loud as possible without distorting. 

  1. Automatic leveling: 

If learning about compressors and limiters is too difficult, some programs can help you get to the proper level. Hindenburg Journalists have built-in loudness normalizing, which is implemented in two different ways. The first is that the program will adjust the level of individual clips to match the loudness standard set in the program’s preferences, in fact, it does this automatically (unless you turn it off) when you work in the workspace. Import sound into. You can also level a clip later by highlighting it and applying the level command manually. But most conveniently, Hindenburg added the option to export your mix with Loudness Normalization recently implemented. So, if your mix is ​​balanced internally, but you haven’t hit the target level, you can just tell the program to adjust the loudness while you’re exporting, and it will hit that target accurately.

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